BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Town commissioners in Belville have voted to appeal a judge’s ruling regarding the H2GO Brunswick Water and Sewer Authority.
Commissioners voted 3-2 at a meeting Monday night to appeal Superior Court Judge Charles Henry’s decision that the previous H2GO Board of Commissioners’ decision to dissolve the authority and convey its assets to the Town of Belville is “unlawful, void and of no effect.” The judge also declared H2GO as the “lawful owner” of all the assets and debts involved in the agreement.
Belville commissioners released the following statement:
“As we stated back in 2017, protecting the health and welfare of our citizens is the most important responsibility we have as public servants.
Given everything we know about the contamination of the Cape Fear River, it is unconscionable to think that the 25,000 people served by H2GO are being kept from getting cleaner water faster and without a rate increase.
This isn’t about the health and welfare of its citizens for Leland’s leaders. As they showed with their statement last week, this matter is all about power and control. Remember, Leland tried to dissolve and take over H2GO back in 2015.
While we respect the Court, we believe the Order left open several avenues for appeal. We will be exploring those paths and other issues moving forward.
Leland likes to talk about wasting money. That’s why it must be said that by blocking the H2GO RO plant, they will be forcing their citizens to pay a 25% rate increase for water that’s more than two years away from their taps.
Also, it needs to pointed out that the RO plant was already being constructed after years of financial planning. As a result, walking away from the plant would waste $15 million already spent on the plant.
We believe continuing to fight this matter in court will save H2GO’s customers, and the citizens of both Leland and Belville, millions of dollars of their hard-earned money.
But what is more important is making sure the people of northeastern Brunswick County are provided with safe, clean drinking water as quickly as possible.
As the StarNews just said in Tuesday’s editorial, “We can’t think of a local-government responsibility that is more important.”
The H2GO controversy centers around a reverse osmosis plant, first proposed in 2015, that would cost about $30 million to build.
The argument came to a head in November 2017 when the outgoing board voted to dissolve H2GO and sell its assets to the Town of Belville in a last-ditch effort to save the controversial plant.
H2GO aligned with the Town of Leland in its legal efforts to force Belville to return assets to H2GO.